My backsaw is bigger than yours

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Dusty Shed Dweller, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Superb 20" Robert Sorby with a kangaroo and Maltese cross; nice deep plate and split nuts. Unsure if it is the original toothing, which is currently 9 PPI with an 8 degree rake. The elegant handle even retains part of a paper decal on the grip. Just the ticket for building that Roubo-style workbench, barn or suspension bridge...
     

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    pmcgee likes this.
  2. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Wonderful saw. I wonder if this was meant for a mitre box that Sorby had or was it for someone's mitre box. Disston, Atkins, Richardson and SD had an etch that said they were "expressly" made for whomever. I don't see anything in the pics to suggest there was something there.
    Lovely size and great handle.
    Joe S.
     
  3. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    97
    Thanks Joe, it is a beauty. There is no etch and no scratches consistent with use in a mitre box. Most mitrebox saws were longer, had modified heel sections and were filed cross cut in 10-12 ppi so the relatively coarse rip toothing and short (!) 20" length suggests that it is a true tenon saw as outlined in the old literature.
     
  4. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

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    1,084
    It is indeed a lovely saw, and one that has not done an enormous amount of work. Hence, I suspect, its superb condition.

    I find this saw particularly interesting as the only large British tenon saws that I have seen so far have been a fair bit younger than this (pre 1830). If what is under the remains of the decal is varnish, then I would put this in the last 25 years of the 19th century but I stand, as always, to be corrected on this.

    And as you imply, the tenons that it cut would be substantial.

    Fred
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  5. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    632
    Mitre box saws almost always seem to be American, as Fred has already observed, I agree this is likely to NOT be a mitre box saw, but that's pure speculation, and I can't think what other specialist application it might be suited to.
    What uses big tenons?
     
  6. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    97
    Ray, I would use such a saw in just about any decent sized furniture tenon cut over say 1-1/2" in length.

    From memory the old literature classifies what is loosely known as a "tenon" saw to be least 16" long, more like 18-20". Most of these tend to be older saws, with very worn plates when found. It has been hypothesized that the longer plate helps sawing the tenon cheeks true, and the deep plate keeps the saw plumb. Such a saw doesn't fit in a travelling kit or toolbox particularly well.

    I cut a lot of tenons and I can attest that this true - longer saws help cutting to a line and personally I won't use a back saw shorter than 16" unless I am cutting dovetails.

    Another point that is critical with rip filed backsaws is that it is critical that the set be managed correctly.... I set mine up with minimal set and they track beautifully and leave a very clean cut that doesn't need touching up with a plane etc. However, it the saw has an infinitesimal bend or kink it will bind and be ruined, so you have to walk a tightrope. Rip filed saws that leave a scratchy cut surface often have an over-set tooth or two - invariably at the heel or toe - and if you deal with that by stoning then you will find the big backsaws gliding through the cut and leaving a very clean surface.
     
  7. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    Enviably nice saw! I thought it might be useful to post this extract from the Ward & Payne catalogue of 1911 (chosen more or less at random – most makers, and factors like W&P, offered much the same range) NB: "Offered" - they also "offered" ordinary hand saws with up to 40inch blades – make of that what you will.
    IMG_0546.JPG
     
  8. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    I'm hoping Mari is going to post about another superb 20" tenon saw that I recently tidied up. Four split nuts... never seen another like it.

    There's a lot of these 18 and 20" tenon saws out there - they are certainly useful and if you get the chance to use one, give it a try. They make tenons a breeze.
     
  9. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Hi Dusty,


    Thanks for working your magic with this 20" brass back Taylor Brothers saw.

    I think that it may even be bigger than that earlier 20" Rob Sorby.

    The plate on this one is 5" deep, & due to the arrissed brass back, I don't believe that it was a mitre saw, more likely a proper tenon saw.

    I've not had a backsaw with fastener placement like this one, I find it highly unusual, hence it being a keeper for the time being.

    Looking at the Taylor Brothers entries in Simon's BSSM, the stamps to the back look like they could be 1870s, & with the fancy handle & extra fasteners & brass back, it looks like a 1st quality line.


    Thanks for looking,


    Mari
     

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  10. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    632
    Wow, now that's a tenon saw. Kudos for putting the ruler alongside it. Without getting a tape measure out and seeing how big it actually is, I wouldn't have fully appreciated the sheer size of the monster.

    Have you tried cutting a tenon with it? I would think it's possible the longer stroke might make for a more accurate cut.
     
  11. rob1713

    rob1713 Active Member

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    Superb saws the pair of them. If I found one in the same condition as either of these it would have a partner for life. Well for my life at least.
     
  12. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    212
    Hi Ray,

    Yes I have & it rips tenons magnificently, a combination of the extra long stroke as you mentioned + Dusty's superb sharpening + the heavy brass back + depth of plate all make for a superb accurate & easy to use tenon saw. And I do agree with you Rob, its a keeper.

    Regards

    Mari